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United States v. Moore

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

March 14, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellant,
v.
TRAVIS ANTWONE MOORE, a/k/a Trav, Trap, Defendant-Appellee.

          Argued: January 31, 2019

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, at Columbia. Terry L. Wooten, Senior District Judge. (3:17-cr-00136-TLW-9)

         ARGUED:

          Benjamin Neale Garner, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellant.

          Daniell Stokes Landers, LANDERS LAW FIRM, Lexington, South Carolina, for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          Sherri A. Lydon, United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellant.

          Before AGEE and FLOYD, Circuit Judges and TRAXLER, Senior Circuit Judge.

          FLOYD, CIRCUIT JUDGE

         Travis Antwone Moore pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine and cocaine base. Prior to his federal sentencing, Moore served seven months in state prison for related conduct. At sentencing, the district court reduced Moore's mandatory-minimum sentence by seven months, over the government's objection, to reflect Moore's discharged state sentence. For the reasons set forth below, we reverse.

         I.

         On January 18, 2018, Travis Antwone Moore pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine and cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(B), & 846. Because he had a previous drug-related felony conviction, Moore was subject to a mandatory-minimum sentence of ten years. See 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B) ("If any person commits such a violation after a prior conviction for a felony drug offense has become final, such person shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment which may not be less than 10 years[.]" (emphasis added)). At sentencing, Moore argued that he should receive a downward departure of seven months from the ten-year mandatory-minimum sentence because he had already served a seven-month sentence on state charges for conduct relevant to his federal offense.

         Moore based his argument on U.S.S.G. § 5K2.23, which provides:

A downward departure may be appropriate if the defendant (1) has completed serving a term of imprisonment; and (2) subsection (b) of ยง 5G1.3 (Imposition of a Sentence on a Defendant Subject to Undischarged Term of Imprisonment or Anticipated Term of Imprisonment) would have provided an adjustment had that completed term of imprisonment been undischarged at the time of sentencing for the instant ...

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